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Extremist Lies — Why One Anchorage Needs Volunteers to Spread the Truth!

by Linda Kellen Biegel

When “One Anchorage” was preparing to file their now-successful petition with the city to place their initiative on the April 3rd ballot, most supporters and those experienced with similar campaigns agreed that it would be very difficult to provide a rational argument against the initiative itself. As it states on the website:

“The One Anchorage Initiative simply provides to gay and transgender Alaskans the same legal protections that we already provide to other persons in Anchorage in employment, financial practices, housing, and restaurants, department stores and other businesses.”

In other words, to fight against the language of the initiative, you would have to somehow advocate that firing someone from a job or denying someone housing based purely on their sexual orientation or gender identity is somehow acceptable. As I have discovered in my discussions, even some of the most conservative or religiously fanatical folks are unwilling to openly advocate for that.

So, what happens when extremists discover that the truth about their stance is a losing argument? They turn to lies, half-truths and misdirection…especially those organizations desperate to hold onto their very best fundraising issue.

True to form, Jim Minnery has done just that in a recent begging email to the followers of Alaska Family Council. Featured in Shannyn Moore’s most recent opinion piece, Minnery begins his plea by describing a “recent” case in the UK where a “Christian couple” was denied a foster parent license because, according to the email, “they are unwilling to tell the children in their care that homosexuality is a morally equivalent lifestyle to heterosexuality.” The email then goes on to claim: “According to the British high court, “traditional Christian views about sexuality are harmful to children.”

Obviously, the most important thing about this email is that a ruling in the United Kingdom has absolutely nothing to do with a ballot initiative in Anchorage, Alaska. We had an entire war a few hundred years ago to make that decision.

However, I decided to do a little research to discover how far these folks were willing to stretch the truth and sow misinformation in order to generate the necessary faux-outrage on this side of the pond.

As it turns out, Minnery and his friends went pretty far:

–The email claims this ruling is “recent.” According to the press in Great Britain, the ruling was made in February of 2011, almost a year ago. I guess “recent” is in the eye of the beholder.

–The email insinuates that the Mr. and Mrs. Johns were denied foster parent status to prevent them from simply “discussing their objections” to homosexuality with those “small children” (5 to 10 yrs old) who would be in their care. In actuality, The Derby City Council (whose rejection of the Johns’s application was the basis for the case) gave a more accurate statement of the issue: “It would be inappropriate for the council to approve foster carers who cannot meet minimum standards. It would be difficult and impractical to match children with Mr and Mrs Johns if they feel that strongly.” In other words, since a child’s sexual orientation is not generally known at that young of an age, it would be impossible for the City to determine which children would eventually discover that they were LGBT and could suffer harm from such discrimination under their roof.

–Finally, as far as I can determine, the alleged quote attributed to the British High Court ruling (“traditional Christian views about sexuality are harmful to children“) is a complete fabrication. I was unable to trace it to any UK publications. No published accounts of the ruling which contain the actual language have anything which even resembles that quote. On the contrary, I found Lord Justice Munby’s written decision to be worded quite differently:

“However, it is important to realise that reliance upon religious belief, however conscientious the belief and however ancient and respectable the religion, can never of itself immunise the believer from the reach of the secular law. And invocation of religious belief does not necessarily provide a defence to what is otherwise a valid claim.

Some cultural beliefs and practices are simply treated by the law as being beyond the pale. Some manifestations of religious practice will be regulated if contrary to a child’s welfare. One example is the belief that the infliction of corporal punishment is an integral part of the teaching and education of children and is efficacious … And some aspects of mainstream religious belief may even fall foul of public policy…”

I was also unable to trace that quote to anything published in any part of the world at the time of the actual ruling. However, I did discover the same story, almost word-for-word, in a post from December 29, 2011…less than 1 month ago and a few days before the AFC email. This appeared on the blog for the Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW). FPIW is affiliated with James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, as is Alaska Family Council. FPIW also has a recent history of attempting to circumvent campaign disclosure law.

I took you through the analysis of that email because it’s important to see what strategy the religious extremists have at play and what a difficult job they actually have. You see, those of us who support One Anchorage have a much easier task. We don’t have to try and remember which lie we told on what day. We don’t have to memorize language to “pretty anything up” and make it sound better or different than it is. The best, most effective language to describe the ballot initiative is the initiative itself. The best, most effective arguments in favor of the initiative are the true stories of LGBT discrimination in Anchorage…all of us know at least one…and the fact that this initiative will make any future incidents illegal.

The best news of all is that the most effective person to spread this information and make these arguments is YOU!

One Anchorage needs you to be a phone bank volunteer and spread the word. Because, while our opponents’ message is full of half-truths and misinformation, they are using it to raise money and get voters out on April 3rd. If One Anchorage can get enough volunteers, we can arm folks with the truth about the initiative when they go to the polls.


I was also told by the phone bank folks that there will be nightly contests and prizes as well as some great camaraderie!

So please, SIGN UP and help One Anchorage! You never know WHO you might meet…



18 Responses to “Extremist Lies — Why One Anchorage Needs Volunteers to Spread the Truth!”
  1. Colorado Springs Liberal says:

    I suppose that this selfrighteous Minnery is the brother? of the Minnery that is with Focus on the Family here in Colorado? They should focus on their own family and leave mine alone.

  2. Alaska Pi says:

    Linda- the post linked to Lord Justice Munby’s written remarks was fascinating, on multiple levels.
    Given Mr Minnery, et al are claiming that their religious freedom would be truncated by the passage of One Anchorage, I thought the opening line very important :

    “The Christian Insitute and similar bodies have mounted a series of court cases over the alleged persecution of Christians in the last five years. Almost all have been based around the claim that Christians are entitled to discriminate against gay people”

    The general lack of understanding by evangelical Christians that there is a needed and real line between secular activities and religious activities is pretty well examined in that article with a view to British law. We have our own long history of trying to keep secular life secular, to better manage the affairs of our pluralistic population .
    The inanity of the AFC’s stance that they lose freedom, when what they lose is a right to discriminate is almost laughable.
    Until I think about how unfunny it is that real live people are the hurt by that “right” to discriminate.
    And hurt badly.
    Then it’s just sicko and senseless, no matter how much folderol Mr Minnery, Mr Dobson or any of their alphabet soup oragnizations try to doll it up with.
    Go One ANC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. CG says:

    VERY IMPORTANT. Thank you.

  4. carol says:

    He who conceals hatred [has] lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool.
    Proverbs 10:18 (New American Standard Bible
    “Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.”
    Deuteronomy 5:20 King James version of the Bible.
    Yeah, spreading hatred thru lies is real Christ like.

  5. AKblue says:

    Hatred, lies, cheating on taxes (Prevo).
    Which true Christian values (ie., coming directly from Christ) do they actually embrace?

  6. 24owls says:

    Great post Linda – and the James Dobson connection rears his ugly head again. He was in part responisible for the quitter queen palin’s rise in the republican ranks. He pushed her trumped up fake government and christian merits during the latter part of the Bush administration which put her on a list of top ten future republican leaders to watch. As the McCain train was desparately trying to stay on track, Dobson was part of the group who “promised” McCain that if he made palin his vp choice over McCain’s real first choice of Joe Liebermann that Dobson could “compel” the millions of evangelicals to vote for McCain, which would carry over the total votes for Obama. Thank God (no pun intended) the greater good of the people did not “compel” themselves to vote republican. But Dobson is a behind the scenes kind of guy and his money that influence all things republican keeps coming back to search and destroy the human goodness and justice that every single American citizen should be able to enjoy. His political and monetary influence is discouraging but with efforts such as a victory for One Archorage, hopefully it will hurry up and deliver the rapture to hateful people like Dobson.

  7. UgaVic says:

    Please pass on that we here in this corner of ‘bush’ Alaska support this wholeheartedly.

    Believe it or not villages can be the most accepting when it comes to this issue and I am proud of that. We might have other issues but the LGBT community overall is welcome here!

    Hopefully you get lots and lots of support there in ANC and the surrounding area!!

  8. beth. says:

    Linda – in your reading of all the literature on the subject from AFC (and its parent organization(s)), would you happen to know how many hours –per day and/or week– the Christian family in Alaska spends discussing homosexuality/LGBT issues with their children? Would it be, say, 8 to 12 hours a week? Less? More?

    The reason I ask (and I’m embarrassed to admit it), is that I’ve no earthly idea how much time the Christian Family devotes (or *should* devote) on a *daily* basis, to specifically addressing this issue with their children. Nope, not a clue in the world…but I’m guessing it is a Lot!

    ‘They’ say, “Time is Money,” and as you and I both know, Time can also be a Measure of Importance; the more time devoted to something, the more important that something is. [e.g. if the family feels learning to play the piano is of utmost import, insisting on a minimum of an hour’s practice every day from the child reinforces the family-held importance of learning piano.]

    So, any idea how many hours that’d be that the Christian mother, father, and children –the Christian Family– discusses, possibly even analyzes with newly updated information, [exclusively] homosexuality/LGBT every day? beth.

  9. tallimat says:

    Nice celticdiva. Spot on.

    Think about it folks, could Minnery ever leave the reproductive organs of youth alone?
    I believe he has to feed some sick obsession. It is like his entire career is focused around pubescent reproductive organs. Yeah, he has a beef with adult LGBT people, but just look at his career track.
    It creeps me out.
    Does he really care about the health and welfare foster children? Well kinda, he wants money so he can continue to focus on their reproductive organs. He even spreads lies in his fundraising efforts to feed his obsession.

    Think about it.

  10. Zyxomma says:

    If I didn’t live on an island on the far side of the continent from AK, I’d volunteer. Geography doesn’t permit it, but my heart is with One Anchorage.

  11. Scorpie says:

    I don’t live in Alaska, so I can’t help with the phone bank. But If I did, I would be dialing my fingers to the bone.
    My question is, what the hades are these loonies so afraid of?

    • Mo says:

      My theory is they fear humiliation from perceived loss of power.

      If you’re not all that smart, not all that talented, not all that physically fit – a below-average schlump, in other words – what do you possess to bolster your self-esteem other than a belief that your religious views make you superior to all those godless successful people around you?

      The irony is how easy this sort of belief makes it to manipulate these folks for monetary and social advantage. Milk those ducks!

  12. SuzySnowflake says:

    Does the One Anchorage campaign have yard signs or informative buttons for people to wear? I’d be glad to wear a button everywhere to show support in an ongoing way.

  13. GoI3ig says:

    I’m not sure why anyone believe anything out of Jim Minnery’s mouth?

  14. beaglemom says:

    Much the same kind of language was used here in Traverse City MI last fall by the group that had initiated the referendum to fight the ordinance that granted anti-discriminatory protection to the gay community in hiring and housing. Lots of money went into the hate campaign and lots of lies.

    I was “polled” on two occasions by some folks from far away from Michigan and I was pleased to interrupt them and tell them that I had already voted in favor of the ordinance which meant that I voted in favor of the referendum although the referendum had been brought forward by those opposed to the ordinance. See how the language of the referendum proved confusing! I also informed both callers that I knew they were not from Michigan because they could not pronounce the name of the city correctly and I complained that those outside the city had no right involving themselves in a city matter. You may find yourselves “polled” in a similar way; this is a national anti-civil-rights movement.

    The group that supported the ordinance, which had originally passed the City Commission unanimously, had yard signs that read “I support equality.” We were proud to have a sign in our front yard. Seeing those yards signs all around the town really made us feel good. The referendum passed by a wide margin.

    Now the anti-gay activists are fighting the school system’s anti-bullying policy that specifically includes gender as one of the several areas that are considered bullying. This policy also easily passed the School Board over a year ago.

    These anti-gay people are full of hatred, no room for Christian charity there, and they have plenty of money. So keep “supporting equality.”

    • I don’t understand how anyone can be against preventing bullying, no matter what someone is being bullied about. Every one of us either was the victim of a bully, was a bully or saw someone else being bullied. If we had any courage at all, we spoke up. More than likely, we were silent. So making the schools do something to stop it seems the only way that it will ever be stopped or at least, slowed down.

      I think you are right in saying that these measures attract all kinds of people who don’t even live in the state. The anti-gays are a desperate and disgusting bunch, and not at all Christian.

  15. Barbara says:

    Why would anyone think this is is a bad thing? Nobody should be allowed to foster or adopt any child that will be abused in ANY way-and “punishing” ‘ either physically or emotionally because of his/her sexual orientation, color of their skin or any other reason that is beyond their control? Would Minnery and his ilk WANT a child placed in a home with people who are so intent on harming a child? Would they advocate placing a young female child with Warren Jeffs? Why would any group or Judge allow a religious extremist, bigot, racist having a young child at their mercy? They shouldn’t.

    • leenie17 says:

      Sadly, I can actually see why they might want a gay child placed with a family that views homosexuality as abhorrent. These groups fervently believe that ‘teh gay’ can be prayed away (or more likely beaten out of them) and would probably view that placement as saving the child from a life of sin and pain.

      Most of us, however, see it as condemning that child to a life of misery, guilt and repression. Fortunately, the judge made a decision based on the best interest of the child and what kind of torment they might endure should they realize they’re gay.